The Chorus Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex And Antigone Essay

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Sophocles’ plays Oedipus Rex and Antigone present the Greek city state of Thebes in turmoil as citizens attempt to deal with the problems created by their leaders’ questionable actions and decisions. The chorus of Antigone presents the concepts of paternalism and anarchy in opposition in order to depict Antigone as ironically trapped between the edicts of two paternal figures: her uncle the king Creon and the ultimate father--Zeus. Throughout Antigone, Sophocles establishes anarchy as a societal taboo in Thebes. The chorus, in particular, stresses the idea that anarchy is unacceptable. After glorifying man in the first ode, the chorus proclaims that “When the laws are kept, how proudly [man’s] city stands! When the laws are broken, what of his city then! Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth” (Sophocles 204). The chorus’ use of anaphora--repeating the word “when”--in their proclamation adds extra emphasis to their message and clarifies to the audience that the chorus views anarchy as disastrous to the function of society. Furthermore, by using an exclamation point instead of a seemingly more fitting question mark in their phrase “what of his city then!” (Sophocles 204), the chorus affixes finality to their statement rather than leaving it to the audience to come to their own conclusion. Later in the play as Antigone goes to her tomb, the chorus concedes that “reverence is a virtue, but strength lives in established law: that must prevail” (Sophocles 204). This…

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